2019 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
"I wonder if anyone ever actually did that, or calculated the energy you could achieve based on a good water pressure?"
Very little energy - you can calculate the potential energy by the head loss multiplied by the mass, and then just factor in whatever conversion efficiency you see fit. Typical pressure on a household water supply in the UK is about 4 bar (near enough 40 metres of head) , assume you leave the tap running nearly full tilt and you'd be pushing out around 1,000 litres an hour (depends on pipe bores and other head loss), so around a third of a litre per second.
Factoring in the various parameters (gravity, head loss, density, flow rate) you're looking at around 100 watts before conversion losses, which I'd guess at around 20% minimum.
In theory that would generate 700 kWh per year. Sadly the water company monitor network losses, and the near 9,000 tonnes of water you'd get through each year running 24/7 would result in investigations to find the leak. On a meter you'd be paying about £3/cubic metre including waste water charges, so to generate 700 kWh with a purchase cost of about £90 would then incur water charges of about £18,000.
Although in reality they'd just prosecute anybody this daft for wasting water.
Re: Giant piles of steaming.....
"There are a few farms that heat their houses from big bio-digesters."
Any decent sized modern sewage treatment works puts the settled sewage sludge through anerobic digestors, and uses the methane for power generation (and the heat to keep the digestors warm). From memory (it was a bit before my time) the huge sewage treatment works that serves Birmingham had English Electric spark ignition generators installed back in about 1967, and some of the London sewage works were using sewage gas around 1910.
Given the relatively modest power generated from relatively efficient industrial scale plant, I'm not sure that extracting a bit of power from urine will really change the world.
Re: Ah, so they finally noticed...@Trevor Pott
"You sir, are naive."
Sadly not, although you sir, appear to be a fool. Its a long while since I worked as a techy myself, and now I work in business management for a very large company. I have the joy of reading, trying to understand government's long winded claptrap, and then trying to cope with the inevitable unintended consequences and costs for business. I know far more about this than I wish to, and I've studied enough commercial history to know that government planning of economies always ends in tears.
A few facts might help you: The 2006 Companies Act is over 700 pages long, full of requirements, restrictions, prohibitions, mandations, ALL IN ADDITION to many millions of pages of other statute. Tax law is now so complicated that Tollies guide to UK tax law is over 11,000 pages if you have all volumes. Or if you want the basic starter volume, that's only around 1,900 pages. Now, funnily enough I haven't seen any recent successes of UK tax law of late, have you? Nor many examples of better corporate behaviour. And if you were running a small business, would you be able to find time to read all of the Companies Act, and to understand it?
"The UK needs a few 800lb gorillas" Ahh, National champions, eh? I thought nobody was stupid enough to believe that bilge these days, but evidently I'm wrong. Government have tried that before, and as a direct result, we no longer have De Havilland, Hawker, Bristol, Blackburn, Westland, Handley Page, Avro etc Instead we've got a single fat cat defence lobbying operation, in the form of subsidy and cost-overrun addicted BAES. And they don't now appear to be able to make any aircraft on their own; Even their best commercial offer is the Hawk, designed with slide rules by Hawker Siddeley forty years ago. The British motor industry is a similar case in point, where a range of innovative manufacturers were swept up by a series of idiot socialist politicians, convinced they could do a better job, and by the attractive logic of national champions and 800lb gorillas. As all can now see, they couldn't, and there is no UK owned volume car maker. I could work my way through the whole gamut of failed state consolidation and central planning examples, but that would be a book as long as Tollies tax guide.
Re: Ah, so they finally noticed...
" In more than one case this has been thanks to our wonderful Government who have failed to support these businesses over the decades."
Given the failure of enterprise zones, and all the other incentives, grants and boondoggles, I'll be very surprised if government can come up with anything to change the situation. Start ups with one or a handful of good ideas are rarely capable of commercialising those few ideas as a sustainable product within a growing business, and that's true outside the UK as within. If I come up with some new display technology in my garden shed, then it will be one of the global hardware makers who will be capable of making that into a global success, as they have the brand, the design , integration, manufacturing and supply chain. If the government think that Ledswinger Display Technologies Ltd are going to rival Samsung any time soon, then they are living in the usual cloud cuckoo land.
Quite honestly, the best thing government can do is to get out of the way. Reduce planning restrictions, reduce business rates, eliminate employer's national insurance, simplify the Companies Act to less than fifty pages. Abandon all the nonsensical charges like the "Climate Change Levy", legislate to stop property owners forcing unfair lease terms on businesses like upward only rent reviews and excessively long break points "because that's how it has always worked". The only thing I can think of that government might usefully do would be to offer funding to enable startups to get top class leagl, IP and commercial advice, to make sure that they get the best deal from buyers (whether UK or foreign), and to try and ensure that a share of the IP rights remain in the hands of the innovator.
The only place that I can see for government investment, is buying startup assets out of administration. So for example, when Modec Electric Vehicles went bust, the government wrung their hands and did nothing, and a US corporation bought the assets for a song. If the government had wanted to they could have bought the assets them selves, and had a (potentially) viable business, cleaned of its liabilities and any excess debt, with a view to hold and build, or maximise national benefit from a trade sale, rather than let the administrators sell it for a song because (at the moment of sale) few buyers can see the potential. You'd still end up investing in a few losers, and still end up selling some assets to overseas firms, but lets have something like state sponsored Chapter 11, instead of government just walking away and then complaining that they don't like the outcome.
"The concerns of real engineering innovators..."
...could be the extent to which a bunch of iffy application programmers using crap like Java, network admins, and parts bin hardware assemblers are claiming to be engineers, and then in turn looking down on people they consider inferior, in some form of self-aggrandising food chain.
I've successfully programmed computer for the nations defence, but that doesn't make me an engineer. Just because others have purloined and debased the term "engineer", let's remember that amongst Reg readers we do have a small proportion of genuine, qualified and professionally recognised engineers, and they're not mere code monkeys like the rest of us.
Respect to real engineers! Death to imposters!
Yeah. That last bit really needs a Soviet style motivational poster to work properly, but the Reg can't even make the bloody icons work when you make a new post. And another thing, what happened to the icon overhaul? C'mon, Reg, I read your soddin' adverts, and that's as good as paying your salary! New icons NOW.
"and has failed miserably in the one thing it had to do to justify its existence: convert free to paid customers"
Maybe. The true freetards were never going to pay in the first place, but I doubt they're using Spotify anyway, preferring instead to download torrents. I think the whining musos rather overlooks the extent to which Spotify is a try before you buy platform. I've bought more music in the few years I've had a (free) Spotify account than in the preceding decade, simply because I can explore stuff that I wouldn't hear or be able to find on radio, and because I don't get my fingers burned buying something on the strength of hearing a single track, only to find out the rest of the album's rubbish.
That won't be apparent to muso's through their Spotify revenues, but I daresay they'll happily bank the payments I make for CDs. For the "starving artist" category of musician, I'd suggest Spotify is exactly where you need to be, not because they'll make money there, but because people might hear it, like it, and talk about it, and subsequently buy it. Many seem happy enough to stick their music on Youtube for the same reason, for which they get nothing, what's so villainous about Spotify?
Re: I hope Icahn wins and LOSES
"and would upvote you if the result of Icahn winning would not be lots of people losing jobs"
And how will it be different if Michael takes the company private? The whole plan for either side is to liquidate the retail PC making and selling business along with any other low margin stuff, to sack as many people in the rest of the business as possible, selling and leasing back any assets that the business still owns, whilst still issuing as many invoices for as much as possible. Having then pushed costs hard down to a non-sustainable level, whilst keeping revenues up in the shorter term, you try and flog the business (now laden with as much debt as you can load on it) to whatever mug can't see what's coming. If there's not enough corporate mugs with bulging wallets, then you can always try re-listing on equity markets.
It's not pretty, and its not nice to be on the recieving end, but all that's driving either side is the desire to enrich themselves, with the opportunity being created by choices unmade by the lacklustre directors of the company. Both Icahn and Dell the man are rich beyond the imagining of most of us, but still all they can think about is making more. Memo to both: You can't take it with you.
Re: Don't Underestimate
"I wouldn't be surprised if the next few years saw some impressive innovation coming from China"
The problem China has is that seventy odd years of one party rule have actively discouraged original thought, risk taking and innovation (much as it did in Russia). A bit of copying doesn't resolve that cultural block, and it will take several generations to re-grow the intellectual curiosity that was previously an unwlecome threat to the state, and where people were trained not to say what they thought.
Even now, it isn't clear to me that the Chinese communist party would really want to encourage radical, questioning thought processes by its population, because those sorts of mind don't cease to ask "why?" when they leave work. If you keep the people under the party's thumb, then you don't get much innovation, but the alternative is more demands for democracy and a voice. When you look at the rocky road that Russian democracy has been down, and continues to endure, you have to ask what the future holds for China, and what effect that would have on the rest of the world, given that most transitions to democracy are not smooth.
Re: makes Ballmer look like dead STEVE JOBS
"So will that let them sell piles of phones and tablets and have a big pile of cash too?"
Err, no. But changing the reporting lines means there's nothing for the investors and analysts to compare performance with from previous years. That buys a failing CEO two years of uncertainty about corporate performance, in which he can gold plate his pension and retire. If he wants to stay, it buys time for a turnround (yeah, sure), and pillaging the captive customers with big prices rises can be presented as "growth" to an ill informed world.
That might seem a little cynical, but its roughly what my employers did to disguise a string of value destroying acquisitions.
Re: I must be mad!@BOBSta
"It shouldn't cost BT any more to put in a fast FTTC connection in the countryside than it does in a city."
Err, sorry mate, but it does. The costs of working in made up ground (concrete, tarmac) are around three times those of working in unmade (fields, verges) ground, all in. And because the network length per property is many times greater in the countryside, the savings of unmade ground aren't sufficient to offset this. Obviously you can try and use telegraph poles rather than burying the cables, as they cost half to a third as much as buried cables albeit with higher maintenance costs, but even at a third the cost it's still about five to ten times more expensive for rural overhead versus urban cables in made ground.
Notwithstanding the mudslinging earlier in this column, we'd all like universal broadband to be cheap, and accessible to all. Unfortunately the maths is quite simple, and works against rural broadband. The only way of lowering the cost is to (in aggregate) increase the rural population served per km of network, and in indicative terms you'd need most villages about four times the size they currrently are (say 500 properties instead of 130), and the additional development would need to be quite high density.
Re: So not the point@ dajames
"Having your own broadband network in a village that's not connected to the rest of the internet sorta doesn't."
Who suggested that it wouldn't be connected? There's a variety of communities that have successfully taken matters into their own hands and built their own broadband, and sorted out the backhaul.
"Whilst some of those services are not available to all, there are alternatives (I'm on septic, and oil heating; costs are roughly equivalent). There is NO alternative to decent broadband at a cost equivalent price."
Good lord, you really ARE stupid! Of course if you start demanding a specific high speed broadband offer, priced below cost, then there's no alternative to subsidised broadband. But you're not being offered it because collectively people won't pay what it costs, the rest of us don't want to subsidise you, and you DO have an alternative, and that's dial up or ADSL.
Broadband isn't some human right for rural rednecks, it needs to be paid for, and all I'm suggesting is that those that want it have four choices: Pay for the service they want at whatever vast cost that entails; Build their own network (as with septic tanks and private water supplies); Move to where the service is available at a cost you are willing to pay; Or simply stop whning that you can't download grumble flicks in HD.
"Thing is due to just about every interaction between government and public moving to an online service (Livestock control paperwork, DVLA vehicle paperwork, HMRC paperwork) basic (i.e. a solid 4mbit and above) ...."
Are you still in short trousers? This type of stuff was eminently feasible on a 32k dial up modem back in 1993 - that was how every home accessed the web, and many businesses besides. The agriculture sites concerned are low graphics (eg CTS Online) and will exchange data with spreadsheets, and there's nothing onerous about the DVLA services. We're not talking about gigbytes of data being exchanged. A solid 4 Mb line is certainly nice to have, but to post on a tech site that it is some technical or human rights minimum just shows you up.
Re: @James Hughes 1
"Farmer's need decent broadband."
Funnily enough, agriculture has evolved quite successfully over the past five to ten thousand years with f*** all access to the internet. If your defintion of agriculture is "applying online for EU subsidies via DEFRA's crummy web site" then you may have a point, but that makes stuff all difference to the art and science of planting seeds, letting them grow, and harvesting them.
"Rural companies need decent rural broadband to stay competitive "
Another nonsense claim. So how did they stay competitive before? Most rural companies are rural because that's where their customers are, and the few that aren't are there as a lifestyle choice. I've lived half my life in the countryside, and I've not seen many rural data busineses in urgent need of 100 Mb connections.
"People who cannot afford to move in to cities/towns need rural broadband so they have some chance of competing/living on the same level as those in towns/cities"
<fx: Sound of sad violin playing> Last time I looked, rural rents tended to be higher than urban rents. This idea of some army of rural poor, unable to move to the bright lights, and wanting only an internet connection to give them the chance of a well paid rural job is complete rubbish.
Re: Have and have nots@ M Mouse
"Do you really want 100% of the population to live in urban districts"
No, and where did I or any other poster moot that?
Where people choose to live is a choice for them. But I chose my house based on its assorted facilities and relatively suburban aspect. As a result I choose (for example) to endure the costs and inconvenience of a relatively long drive to work as a trade off, and I don't have a good rail connection. But unlike the rural broadband moaners, I accept that those are outcomes of my choice, and that it isn't the job of the rest of the population to speed up my drive to work, or to subsidise a new rail connection, unless there's a compelling economic case (which there isn't).
I suspect there's many people who would be quite pleased to live in the country without high speed broadband, but lets go with your apparent desire for universal, subsidised high speed broandband, and see what transpires, eh? Fast forward not very far to a digital future, where we have universal high speed broadband, teleworking, and most of the population engaged as information workers, and where physical commuting is both expensive, unpopular and even frowned upon. What will happen when it doesn't matter where you live? I'll tell you: instead of the few rural peasants flocking to the satantic mills, what's actually going to happen is that the well-to-do of the mills will empty back into the countryside, which will become (far more than it already is) a series of expensive middle class ghettoes, leaving the urban areas for young hipsters and the poor. That may sound a bit extreme, but it is only an extrapolation of existing trends. Don't bother chasing broadband to the towns, because broadband could bring the town to you.
Is that what you're advocating?
Re: Have and have nots@Ledswinger
"Since you have insulted half the population with your post..."
I am pleased to have been of service. I'd even have given you an upvote if you'd had the cojones to post under your normal posting name.
But what is there to be insulted about? A few tongue in cheek terms like "smock-wearer" that I'd expect an interweb user to be able to tolerate, and the observation that the rural have nots probably wouldn't pay the actual costs of the facilties they want.
Is there anything else you'd like to contribute to the debate?
Why should utilities be provided to every home - they certainly aren't now. Gas isn't available to about 7m people in Britain. There's about 3m people off the public sewerage network using septic tanks, and about 2m people on private water supplies.
"There's one very simple regulatory requirement that shoud be put on landline broadband and mobile operators: for every high customer density post code they provide infrastructure, 'x' rural postcodes must be provisioned in the same timeframe."
I already pay my way for my VM broadband on fully commercial terms. I'll happily support your proposal so long as you're also proposing that the rural dwellers will pay the marginal cost of the service they want, on similar commercial terms.
Re: Have and have nots
"Were their remit just to provide the best connection to the whole of the UK, this type of thing could be easily solved."
I doubt that. Based on water industry experience, a rural population requires something like 10x or 20x the network length per property connected as an urban population. Any common sense approach to national roll out would hit the biggest benefit areas first, and the smock-wearers wouldn't be getting rural broadband any time soon, unless they live next to a BT board member. That's also why some urban areas still don't have decent broadband.
The straw-suckers complain that BT won't do things because they don't make a big enough profit, but given the indicative ratios on network length, even if BT were prepared to do it at cost and with no margin, I'll wager that most of the have-nots wouldn't pay the true cost, and would be whining that they should be subsidised.
If they don't like the lack of urban facilities, then the sensible thing is to move. Should anyone with a nice five bed detatched in the country (big garden, with a view, please) wish to swap for my more modest suburban property (with an oh-so fat 60 Mb pipe) then I'll be pleased to receive their offers.
Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it
"@Dave 126: Try Copilot or Navfree."
I've used Navfree, and it's a reasonable free off line alternative. Maps seem no less accurate, although less detailed than Google, directions were clear and accurate, but there's none of the clever stuff that paid apps offer like traffic, speed alerts, camera warnings or lane guidance. For a free, off line satnav app it fills in for Google Maps when you can't manage a data connection, works OK based on UK experience, and doesn't take up too much space. Its main failing are those lack of extras, and that it doesn't do post code searching offline, needing to use Google to look up the postcode, so if using it in true offline mode then you need to enter the full address, which can be a pain.
I think I'm getting to the point where I'll bite the bullet and pay for Copilot, and delete both Google Maps and Navfree.
"This will put more refurbished phones into deployment, but will they send them to their Metro PCS division? "
I'd guess that they'll sell the more attractive ones into developed markets as "refurbished" (meaning "we wiped it on our trousers and maybe put it in a new box"), and any excess will be shipped to developing markets where few people could afford the latest and best.
But seems to me there's a crucial problem here, that there don't seem to me to be even two compelling phone launches every year, unless you're willing to tart between IOS, Android, WP, BB10 and between Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, LG, Sony, and Blackberry, pursuing whatever is new. I know a few ADHD types do this already, but I can't see the appeal for anybody with a life, and I would guess this is more of a headline grabbing opportunity than a remarkable new proposition?
Re: The governments policy@ Tom Welsh
"The thing is, they both are; and recent attempts to blend them together (as in the railway "service") have been magnificently successful in combining the worst points of both public and private, without any of their redeeming virtues."
As somebody old enough to remember the shocking performance of British Rail, and who travelled widely and regularly on the network, I'm staggered anybody is daft enough to claim that the current situation is the worst of all worlds. Those poor ****ers who got rattled slowly and unbelievably uncomfortably up and down the WCML by BR wouldn't swap their fast, comfortable Pendolino's to go back to BR's manky offer. The current standards of punctuality are far better than BR's, the staff usually polite and helpful (exceptions I know, but nothing compared to the surly vermin that dominated in BR days), and traffic volumes and efficiency far better than anything BR managed. BR managed a few hits (like the HST), but only because Brunel had laid the tracks straight almost a hundred years earlier, and on routes like NE-SW they built the HSTs but then failed to straighten the line.
The BR apologists and pro-nationalisation lobby can't stop hankering for a mythical 1950's Nirvana of Will Hay and the pre-Beeching era, ignoring the fact that government was always a poor steward of rail assets largely built by the private sector, and that people used the railways under state ownership less and less of their own free choice. If you want state owned railways, then go to India.
Re: The governments policy@ Tom 7
"The governments policy is to run all public services badly, blame that on socialism, and then sell it to their capitalist funders."
So go on then, explain to us how true socialist countries provide good quality services at an affordable cost. I suggest you start off with the USSR, then help us understand the workers paradise of Cuba, the economic success story of Venezuela, Mozambique and so forth?
Personally I'm sick of paying through the nose for government's sh*tty "public services", most of which I don't want, and those I do costing too much and under-delivering. Not as part of any grand scheme, but simply because the public sector enjoys a monopoly of provison, yet is unaccountable and incompetent. Look at the generally poor standard of state education in this country. There's no plan to privatise it, but the answer that the public sector has for the sh*t standards it delivers is to have a regulator (at extra cost) to ensure "fair access" to higher education (plus OFSTED supposedly driving up standards). Now explain to me why there's money for useless regulators, but no will to sort out the poor quality of state education? Was that some capitalist plot by the last Labour government?
Re: Skills and fail
"Look, the 'incompetent and lazy' civil servant is a stereotype"
It certainly wasn't a stereotype when I worked for the civil service. Lazy, useless, unskilled jobsworths were about 80% of the workforce, and if you didn't fit (or wouldn't alter to fit) that culture then you took the high road.
And if this is merely a stereotype, why do we have bungled failure after bungled failure - energy policy is a costly disaster, defence procurement is and always has been a costly mess, fire control centres were a billion pound mess, awarding a rail operation contract is beyond the skills of the twerps at the Department against Transport, the Department of Health wasted billions on failed IT, £3bn a year wasted on benefit fraud, DEFRA ***ed up their IT systems so that farmers were denied billions in EU entitlements, immigration IT failures, the MI5 database upgrade...
How many more examples do you need?
...the useless ****ers of government could deploy the apparently unlimited and technologically skilled resource used to spy on people's private communication to fix this instead?
No, thought no.
Re: Just Scum
"Man or pig, Pig or man. I'm having trouble spotting the difference."
Well, there's a clear difference on few indicators:
Chinese public spending is about 20% of GDP, US government spending is about 40% of GDP, and China has enjoyed sustained economic growth and rising levels of employment.
"The Chinese don't have anything of worth to steal, except ALL the money that is :-S"
But you don't steal that with surveillance or hacking, you just get the US Federal Reserve to create sufficient new money so as to devalue the holdings of your creditors. If you're a small time criminal this is called "forgery" and is illegal, if you're a government it is called "quantitative easing" and entirely acceptable as a means of paying debts.
"The Chinese don't have anything of worth to steal,"
On the contrary, they have a huge amount worth stealing. As a major holder of US treasury bonds, their future economic plans are of importance, their negotiating position on all manner of future poltical agreements is worth knowing, as their companies' negotiating positions in big commercial agreements. Their future defence plans are of interest, indeed every aspect of their foreign and domestic policy. Even on IP, there's a widespread assumption that the millions of Chinese research scientists produce nothing of worth, but personally I doubt that.
Re: Lens Resolution
Have a look at the sample images on the 808 reviews from last year - they were very impressive.
You'll be hostage to the quality of the lens to an extent, but hitherto the limitingn factor was the sensor which this fixes. I suspect the bundle will appeal to a very niche group of early adopters, but the lack of storage, large file sizes, uncertainly popular OS, high price, and the fact that most people aren't complaining about the quality of their phone cameras makes me suspect this may struggle to do much other than command headlines for a few days.
Even a two year old smartphone (eg SGS2) can produce adequate 8 Mp images and respectable video for most users. The new Nokia should be a lot better, but will people care? The demise of conventional cameras and decent hi-fi suggest that they won't. Adequate is the new black.
"What makes too many?"
Remember the few days after 9/11? And how there wasn't the continual background rumble of aircraft, and skies unpolluted with contrails? Lovely.
Re: Use the force
"It's a decent idea, it was sensible to try, but shouldn't we be seeing better results by now?"
Why do you assume you're being told the truth? The programme isn't deployed at a scale that would defend against a nukefest with any sizeable nuclear fleet where peace is maintained by mutual deterrence, so its value is as a defensive asset against Norks, Iranians and any similar rogues. If the rogues believe the Star Wars systems work, then logically they would look at alternative weapons delivery methods that are less vulnerable, and therefore leave the US more exposed. But if they think the system doesn't work when it does, and stick to developing relatively expensive and complex ICBM vehicles, then should push come to shove and an unprovoked attack is launched, there's a chance to blat the incoming.
Given the US experience that exists with anti-missile systems, I'd be very surprised if the results were as bad as are reported.
Re: Keeping the beaurocracy alive...
"So what you're saying is that because misplace trust in an entirely electronic accounting system resulted in false criminal convictions it follows that keeping information on paper is irrelevant and obsolete?"
If that were all then you (Gerard) would have a point. But when you put this together with the customer service disaster of moving to a new, complex and user unfriendly pricing of letters by size, shape, weight (colour isn't chargeable, yet), and then repeating the same for parcels, then you start to see a pattern of an organisation that doesn't give a **** about its customers (because it has a monopoly), and doesn't evidently give a **** about its sub contractors (because it has some public sector sense of infallibility). Add in straightforward price rises of exorbitant proportions, an assortment of other computer system failures, and a total failure to move with the times (eg evening or weekend deliveries as routine services, counters open normal shopping hours, cost effective mail order returns, locker deliveres all available at not-exorbitant costs), and the Post Office is one huge brown paper parcel full of ****.
Why do you think services like Yodel and other subcontracted delivery operations can find business to keep them going? Why has Collect+ sprung up as an alternative for returns and delivereis? With the rise of Amazon and internet shopping, the Post Office should have become a mainstay of the internet economy, with bulging accounts and satisfied customers. Instead they deliver intermittently and when it suits them, they charge exorbitant prices according to intangible pricing rules. The network subsidy payment has gone up, the organisation has disappeared up its own @rse flogging financial services and lottery tickets. The useless ****ers paid their staff a 4.3% pay increase last year, which is a lot better than most people got. And their chief exec gets paid well over a million quid a year for this useless service(plus the usual board of City rent-a-nonexecs, and friends of politicians).
Of course, as the Post Office are regulated by OFCOM we shouldn't be surprised at poor performance being handsomely rewarded.
Re: this is really a wonderful man
" If he were British we would call him a national treasure."
I doubt it. Look what happened to the last heroic British whistleblower, Dr David Kelly.
Suicide, they insist. A claim that looks less and less plausible the more and more that leaks into the public domain. And the vindictive pursuit of Andrew Gilligan fits the pattern.
Waste of time
Whilst the idea of search for other life is quite intriguing, what are the chances of alien civilisations randomly broadcasting near continous, noisy, unencrypted radio signals that we can actually detect and understand?
I'd have thought that what this (and most other alien detection plans) are searching for is any civilisation within a development window of at most a couple of centuries out of several to many millennia, as it is too heavily dependant upon detecting the sort of EMR that our current technology happens to spatter indiscriminately around.
I'm guessing this means they would be cutting the probability of finding anything down to infinitesimal?
Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore
"....Then I'll buy a new phone"
You might want to add an additonal "feature", of not end-of-lifeing recent phones. I see the HTC One S has been orphaned by its makers barely a year after users were able to buy it, and HTC have form on this charge. HTC aren't alone here, and there's many others who saved a few bob by casting adrift the people who might otherwise have paid their salaries.
Most phone hardware makers struggle with software, and the concept of updating it, ignoring the fact that if I buy a premium hadset, I expect to have that support for a while. I see that Samsung are about to end support for the Galaxy S2 with a 4.2 Android release, and no intention to offer 4.3 or 5. If you're relentlessly short term in your logic, then Samsung are right to save the money and abandon the S2 users. On the other hand, it isn't the sort of thing that endears you to your customers.
The marketing droids in the various phone makers might care to consider that their beloved "brand" is only as durable or as disposable as the devices the name is printed on.
Re: HTC may have lost their way- last year in particular- but they're back on form again.......
" but I've two young children, and simply don't have the cash. When my current contract is up- its on my must have list- that and an insurance contract! "
It won't be an ideal phone if you expect your kids to get their hands on it. Kids like playing games, and given half a chance will install guff like Temple Run, which subjects the battery to rapid discharge and high temperatures, leading to oxidation damage. This happens on all phones, slowly if you're lucky, but fast discharges make it much worse. If you can replace the battery that doesn't matter, or if you're prepared to dismantle your HTC after eighteen months.
Re: Remember The Homeless WIFI Hotspots?
"Couldn't they have picked some Brit companies? Or aren't their any left with anything worth stealing?"
No. Time was when we did have a good aerspace and military manufacturing capability. Now there's nothing left. I doubt BAE could design an aircraft on their own now, and I can't see China hacking into them to secure the twenty year old designs for the Typhoon, or the forty year old design of the Hawk trainer.
""The rigged market for stuff nobody wants isn't working! Quick, fix the price!"...That's basically it. And the taxpayer will pay for it, again."
Almost. As this actually gets added to the price of your electricity and EU manufactured goods, the tax payer merely pays the overheads. The general public and industry then pay the rigged "carbon price" on electricity, because that isn't routinely imported from outside the EU. For manufactured goods, the outcome is that EU made stuff becomes even more expensive, which is why Asia has become the workshop of the world - cheap, poorly regulated labout markets, plus cheap energy, centrally planned infrastructure, and business friendly governments.
Ultimately, the EU is steadily pricing itself out of global markets by driving its own costs up in almost every way possble.
" He told me that even with the then primitive systems they reached a situation where their programme made diagnostic suggestions that were orders of magnitude better than most doctors - .... Clearly that one flew so well it never saw the light of day."
Well of course not.
Curious how, for an originally scientific activity, medicine seems now to be one of the most resistant trades to automation, big data, smart science and smart technology. Not all of those involved (indeed, probably a minority), but why the hell is the NHS bothering to ASK people about sharing anonymised data? If it's anonymous, JFDI.
Why don't we have a decent health information system? Why do GP's (as in your example) not use automation, and then add their expertise by doing the things a computer can't? Why do I need a paper prescription, and why can't the doctor's prescription system check the stock at local pharmacies? Why do too many patients seem to know more about their condition than their GP? Why is the interaction of drugs still so poorly understood?
Bloody health service. I'd go private if I had the money.
Re: Faster *direct* access
"Germany in particular (I'm half German) needs far fewer links traversing US and UK controlled territory."
Why? NSA & GCHQ reportedly hacked into Chinese infrastructure, so the fact that your traffic could be tapped in the UK is irelevant: If they want your data (and they evidently do) then they'll help themselves regardless of the location of the data or the links it traverses.
Even if it was territory specifc, you'll have the same spying problem with China and Russia, so how will you avoid links that traverse those countries or their patsies? I can't think of many nations willing to stick two fingers up the US (Iran, Norks), but Germany certainly won't say boo to that goose, nor will most other countries. The Morales incident shows that all European countries (including the US despising French) will jump when told to by the Yanks.
Re: Thats appalling
"Banged up for almost four years and hit with a £170k costs charge. To me, that seems proportionate."
The suppliers who were out of pocket, the employees who got the shove, and the investors who lost money might disagree. The costs weren't a fine for their actions, they were merely the costs of the prosecution (and not the millions of pounds spent by the SFO on investigating).
You also overlook the important point that Woodbridge will be out in less than half of that, and the fact that Moore and Loosemore (who were in fact the brains behind this fraud) only got two thirty & twenty month sentences respectively, but served concurrently (as opposed to consecutively). As with Woody, on Home Office guidelines they won't serve even half of that. Loosemore could even be out in time for Christmas this year, if there's sufficient pressure on prison places to trigger further sentence discounts. There are burglars serving more for thieving a few TV's. Even the director disqualifications were paltry.
It's also worth noting that all three of these convicts were previously involved at board level with iSoft, from which Torex was spun out. Funnily enough there's a retrial pending for three iSoft directors on fraud charges, and there's the separate fraud around the purchase of XN Checkout by Torex, for which Ed Dayan enjoyed an all too brief spell of porridge. Looks like rather a lot of people think fraud is both acceptable, and a risk worth taking, doesn't it?
The fundamental problem is that the potential gains of fraud are in the range of several million quid, but the penalties for being caught no more than you'd get for a short string of burglaries, or stealing a car. And if you can get a jury trial, chances are they won't understand it and you'll have a good chance of being aquitted.
Re: Thats appalling
"Thousands job less, billions lied about and no-one goes to jail. Well done Japan /slowhandclap"
Why single out Japan? Fraud in the UK is treated leniently, with paltry sentences served in open prisons, followed by release after serving 40% of the short sentence.
Some round here may remember the demise of Torex Retail in 2007, then the largest company listed on AIM, employing about three thousand people, two thirds of them in the UK, and being one of the market leaders in EPOS, and IP owner of a whole menagerie of retail software in the UK, Europe and US. About two weeks ago three of the directors were sentenced for fraud and false accounting, and the longest sentence handed down was two counts of 30 months to be served concurrently (El Reg, lazy b@stards, didn't mention this, I did email them the SFO press release). So the chief culprit will be out in about fourteen months. Milking half a million quid out of a company, keeping the money, and getting fourteen months porridge translates to a better pay rate than I'm ever going to see. Meanwhile, the director who blew the whistle on this fraud hasn't worked since.
Meanwhile, Torex Retail shareholders and suppliers copped losses of the order of £100m, and about 800 UK employees got the boot in the subsequent RBS-led stitch up and restructuring. There's been no confiscation of the assets of the guilty, so the money that the directors looted from the business remains in their hands. So that's the £200k salaries, fat pensions, penny share options with few conditions that they then ignored anyway, private share sales when the directors knew them to be worthless, and business routed to the chairman's wife's company, etc. And that's not all: Regulators, politicians, and police have been deliverately pussy footing round the rank events that occurred after the collapse of Torex Retail, because these could prove systematic fraud at RBS, which the pols are desperate not to have investigated, as it shows up their incompetence and their craven servitude to the bank lobbyists.
There's a big neon sign hanging over the UK, and it says "Fraudster's welcome - little chance of being caught, kid glove treatment if we can't let you off".
So Japan may be treating its fraudsters leniently, but let's not claim any moral high ground, shall we?
On the basis of the headline I thought this article was going to be rather more interesting than it was.
And where are my bl00dy icons? This new TIFKAM comments interface is cr@p.
"OFCOM seem obsessed with attempting to drive down the cost of broadband, and presumably squeezing everyones margins along the way"
BT and VM don't look under-nourished to me, so your touching concern for their well being may be misplaced. And even poor TalkTalk, allegedly one of the reselling victims of BT's wholesale margin squeeze, have an EBITDA margin of 21% (aiming for 25% in future), and a profit after tax of 8% of turnover.
I'd suggest OFCOM are insufficiently obsessed with driving down the cost of anything, being instead a bunch of useless t***s, thoroughly in the pocket of the industry they are supposed to be savaging.
Re: How to get ahead, errr a head
Save money on keeping 'em in jail ('cos death row generally lasts for years and costs a fortune in appeals and legal costs).
Mind you, if it were you on death row, would you be willing to let your body live on, rather than none of you?
Re: New artist takes modern art to a new level
"By transmuting existing artworks using the medium of chemically induced oxidation reactions*, "
But sadly not original. The Momart warehouse fire destroyed a good part of "I don't beat my wife" Saatchi's art collection back in 2004. Pity he wasn't inside at the time, although as a solution to modern art it certainly makes sense to burn the tat.
I suppose in the world of art, copying Momart would be "inspirational" and "self referential", rather than "derivative".
Re: Fearing the worst?
The cost to students is subsidised, incurs no duties or taxes, and also involves distribution by the government, so you there's no distribution costs and reseller margins. Accordingly the circa $25 quoted isn't a commercial price. If you buy one yourself, (branded for non-state sales as a Ubislate 7Ci) it will cost you $67 shipped in India, but if you want it here you'll have to get it here, and pay any import duties. Imported wholesale you'd have to pay VAT and reseller margins of say 25% as well. Assume you can pack, ship, market, and have local warranty support for $15 a unit, and assume they can dodge import duties. That's ($67 + $15)*1.25*1.2 or $123
$123 is still cheaper than the circa $200 for a Nexus 7, but would you really want a low spec "me too" slate, assembled in a location with no established electronics expertise, and tied to the Datawind app store? Three hour battery life, 800*480 resolution, and 512 MB of RAM, anyone?
Like so many "if only we could make it without a profit margin" projects (OLPC and others), the projects always end up late, more expensive than hoped, and functionally two generations behind the current commercial products. In the Indian case, the problems were exacerbated by demanding local manufacture - the objective should have been cheap, good tablets for students sourced from the most efficient and cooperative maker. The people to go to were probably Asus, rather than some unheard of outfit with no experience. That said, the Indian government's approach is not much different to the British governements attempts to support technology industries, leading to wasted money for (in the longer term) no useful output. Rember the Philips TV plant in Wales, now long gone, or the LG or Panasonic plants at Newport? Thought not - but all incentivised with public money..
Re: Poor Choices
"Maybe they were union workers"
Or just that Iranian government employees are as competent, committed and motivated as our own public servants?
Re: Poor Choices
Generally correct, though note this data refers to industrial control systems. So the low number of attacks on government ICS (2%) isn't an error, it reflects the limited number of government SCADA installations. Accordingly, it doesn't show data attacks to delete health care records as in your example,or more routine DDOS, espionage or similar. And in that respect, the DHS having only investigated 200 attacks in six months, we should compare that to the number of other electronic attacks, which I'm guessing are vastly higher in number.
At the root of this, there's not much money to made interfering in SCADA, there's not much to be learned, and both the machinery and the end to end systems are less vulnerable than people suppose. Electricity supply is robust and resilient. Even a successful attack is unlikely to cause catastophic damage, and the "cure" is simply disconnecting the SCADA if you don't trust firewalls and encryption, with the main downside being a very small increase in costs and some personal inconvenience to the professional staff. Even the Stuxnet attack could have been mitigated by a simple speed controller added to the centrifuge drives, at a cost a few dollars a piece. We'll just have to take Washington's word that Stuxnet destroyed thousands of centrifuges, and set back the Iranian nuclear programme, but an interesting exercise is to put yourself in the place of the engineers and scientists running the enrichment programme, and ask yourself if you'd have sat and done nothing whilst the centifuges kept over-speeding and self destructing?
I've no doubt there's a few enbarassing holes to be found, but the idea that Western (or Eastern, or anywhere's) critical infrastructure is all connected to the web, completely open and unprotected, and at high risk of catastrophic attack is just rubbish, used to persuade the public that they are under continuous attack, and in need of government protection.
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